It’s national Bird Day. I love my backyard birds. Feeding them isn’t very expensive for the amount of entertainment they provide. I’m always surprised when we have workmen at the house, or sometimes company, and they don’t know the names of our common back yard birds especially the brightly colored ones. I grew up in a family that liked nature so we learned the proper names as soon as we could talk. Continue reading “Birds At My Feeder”
If you have ever wondered if I have a decorating theme in my house; the answer would be birds. But I’m a bird snob in that all of my birds are western New York state back yard songbirds and a few ducks thrown in for good measure. I have never counted how many different bird “things” I have in the house, but it’s a lot. I say things, because I have photographs, prints, placemats, a shower curtain, needlepoint, bells, figurines, painted eggs, feeders, a thermometer, a clock, window stickers, wall paper, books and one 3-D piece of owls done by Kurt Feurerherm that I paid a handsome price for. You can google his name if you’re interested. Continue reading “Bird Snob”
Cliff swallows are cousins of barn swallows and purple martins. They have long, narrow wings, forked tails, and weak, tiny feet. Incredibly graceful in flight, they feed on the wing, catching insects in their wide mouths; they can effortlessly make abrupt changes in direction or speed as they feed. There is a large population that arrives in San Juan Capistrano, California (about an hour south of Los Angeles) in March and departs in October. They winter in Goya, Corrientes, Argentina. [courtesy National Day of Calendar] Continue reading “Swirling Mass Departs”
It’s National Audubon Day. Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter noted for his extensive studies of American birds and his detailed illustrations of the birds in their natural habitats. Audubon’s greatest work was The Birds of America which is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. His work in this book contains more than 700 North American bird species with 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species.
I have an ongoing love affair with back yard birds. I have feeders and water out for them and suet for the woodpeckers, most of the time. I like to watch them and enjoy their unique colors; the red of the cardinal and the blue of the blue-jay. We had company for dinner one day and the question was, “Do I have birds that color where I live?” We chuckled and said, “Of course.”
I know most of the names of my back-yard birds, but I have can never remember if it’s the cat-bird or cow-bird that has the iridescent eggplant colored head. I mentioned those two birds to give you a nudge to go to the library and borrow an Audubon book so you can see the difference. Oh, never mind, look them up on Google.
My house is decorated with birds; figurines and pictures in the family room, pictures in the living room, curtains and matching quilt in the bedroom, shower curtain in the bathroom. Some might think I have gone overboard with the birds, but I like them. I am also a realist, if I buy a bird, it has to be the correct colors and size, or I don’t want it. Just a little anal, but don’t tell anyone.
Sometimes I miss my back-yard birds because they aren’t coming around because we also have a pair of hawks that live in the woods behind our house. When you are out driving, or enjoying a walk, look for birds if you never have. Make a game out of learning their names and thank James Audubon for the wonderful lifelike pictures of them in their natural habitat.
Looking at the picture provided by the National Day of Calendar for bird day I realize that the backyard birds I have in western New York state are not the same you might have in your backyard elsewhere. But birds are birds. I love watching them at the feeder, flying across the back yard from the shrubs that outline our property, and hearing them “talk” to each other.
I fill our feeder attached to the window daily, and the big hanging one about once a week. The blue jays, who always announce their arrival, and the quiet sleek titmouse come especially for the peanuts. Sometimes they scatter other seed on the ground, the doves and juncos clean that up so we don’t mind. We call the sparrows pigs because they eat anything, until it’s gone. I also throw scraps out for the crows; they very timidly approach the patio, pick up as much as they can carry in their big beaks, and fly off with it. When one arrives, if there are treats, they call to their friends and more crows land silently. I’ve read that crows bring presents to those that feed them, so far, nothing has been left for me. I’m still hoping.
When my granddaughter is here, she notices the bright red on the woodpeckers that visit the suet feeder. I still haven’t convinced the lady at the public market I don’t want loose chunks of suet when I buy it. They don’t stay in the feeder like a nice solid piece does. Once in a while we have a pileated woodpecker visit, they are the huge ones that look like Woody woodpecker. That’s a real treat to see them.
I guess my fascination with birds started when I was a kid and we often had a canary in our kitchen. I remember they usually sang when someone was doing dishes, and if my father whistled a tune to them. Currently, most of the rooms in my house have some sort of birds in them whether in fabric for the shower curtain, a quilt, photographs, paintings, needlepoint, on bells, and even the ceiling border. I’m fussy though, for decorating, I want my birds to be the correct size, color and shape for their breed.
Our cat, Useless, thinks it’s good we feed the birds, he catches the mice that eat the leftovers on the ground. I wish he’d chase away the squirrels that try to get in the feeders, but I guess they are too big to interest him. At least he leaves the birds alone.